OCEAN CITY – Ten teams of students from Ocean City High School (OCHS) and five law students from Ocean City…
OCEAN CITY – Ten teams of students from Ocean City High School (OCHS) and five law students from Ocean City Intermediate School (OCIS) have submitted proposals for experiments to be conducted at the International Space Station (ISS).  According to a release, they are waiting for news that is expected to come in December on any proposal that can make it to the next phase and represent Ocean City in the SSEP mission 13 to ISS.
The student writer of the chosen proposal will once again have the opportunity to travel to Cape Canaveral, Fla., To watch the launch of their protocols and materials in space, where astronauts will conduct their experiment.
The Ocean City School District (OCSD) is one of two K-1
2 districts in New Jersey participating in the program after the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education approved its plan to involve much of the school community in SSEP.
OCSD had previously participated in SSEP Mission 6, with approximately 100 students involved in part of the proposal to write and experiment the design process.
This year, the OCSD tripled nearly student participation by engaging high school students participating in OC Life 21 club and eighth grade students in a Science High School Virtual High School Enrollment course.
All participating students have learned about microgravity through classroom activities and the experimental design process. And their teachers report that experience has contributed to learning and growth beyond what they have maintained about microgravity.
Maureen Baldini, a computer science teacher at OCIS, has guided five groups of eighth grade students in the proposal process. “These students had never written a suggestion of this type before, so they had to learn the mechanics in the way,” she stated. “They embraced the challenge and have done an excellent job of formulating their ideas.”
Baldini encouraged their students to design experiments on simple subjects that interest them. For example, a group has suggested comparing the crystal growth on earth with those on ISS, which hypothesizes that microwave will lead to larger crystals.
The high school students involved have made their proposal to write on their own and OC Life 21 adviser David Uhrich and Daniel Weaver, both of the two OCS physics teachers, are impressed. They said that the students had taken the initiative not only to learn about microgravity but also other subjects that they had suggested.
“Our students have acted as true researchers,” said Weaver. “They learned to learn on their own by reading articles and reaching out to professors and other researchers.”
A student who has proposed to study bone growth in microgravity has exchanged more than 40 emails with a professor at Rutgers University. Another who wants to study the division of urea into space has visited the laboratory of a local microbiologist at Shore Memorial.
Professors from Atlantic Cape Community College also serve as valuable OCSD partners in support of this SSEP. They are currently reviewing and pointing out approved proposals and helping the district to choose three to forward to the National Step 2 Review Board, which will make the final choice.
“Many of our students’ original proposals were too complicated for the limited space on the ISS and the limited time the astronauts have to devote themselves to the experiments,” Uhrich said. “The students refined their ideas to match the parameters, which was another real learning for them. That’s exactly what real scientists are doing. “
” The whole process requires self-regulated learning and has encouraged students’ skills in critical thinking, problem solving, seamless navigation across a multidisciplinary landscape, communication and teamwork, “said Lauren Gunther, OCSD Course Leader.
” We appreciate our support from our administrators, our board and our teachers, especially those who act as mentors for our students, as we provide this valuable learning experience for so many of our district students, “she says.
” I encouraged participation in another SSEP mission this year because experience enables our students to actually reach the stars – something we urge them to do daily in the district, “said OCSD superintendent Kathleen Taylor, Ed. D.” This is another example of the unique opportunities we can afford our students, which helps them give them a competitive edge when they go out. “
O cean City Primary School students in classroom schools through third and OCIS students in Grades Four to Eighth also have the opportunity to participate in SSEP by designing a patch for the selected OCSD experiment.
Each school will run a competition to choose a winning design, and the district sends the two winning patches together with the experiment in space. In addition, third grade students design and develop their own LEGO space station, which requires them to develop a budget, research and planning for an optimal design that fits within set parameters before being built and tested. The project page provides additional details: https://www.octechlab.org/iss-project
About Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP is a program for the 501c3 National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCE ) in the United States and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education for Societies International. It is activated through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which works with NASA under a space law agreement as part of the exploitation of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. 19659021] / *